Hawk talk

BOULDER – University of Colorado head football coach Dan Hawkins held his Missouri week press luncheon Tuesday at the Dal Ward Athletic Center, previewing Saturday night's game with the Tigers.

The following are quotes from the session:

Head Coach Dan Hawkins

On Colorado's Quarterback Situation

"We're just going to play whoever we need to play, whenever we need to play them, to get whatever we need to get done, done."

On Missouri's WR-QB Combination of Jeremy Maclin and Chase Daniel.

"They're pretty good, but you're also dealing with a lot of guys who are really good. You have probably got several combinations in this conference that will go down as some of the best in the history of college football; so they're pretty dynamic."

On If Chase Daniel Would Thrive in another Team's System

"Everybody is a system quarterback, I don't know why that should be a knock. Joe Montana was a system quarterback, John Elway was a system quarterback; I mean that's not a bad thing, Michael Jordan was a part of a certain system. So I think they certainly make what they do go well, but every coach is going to sort of cater towards the type of personnel he has. They are different, I think, than [Texas] Tech, in terms of what they do and how they do it, and they're extremely proficient at it."

On What Makes Chase Daniel Such an Effective Player

"[He's] very tough, very competitive, strong arm, accurate thrower; has great command of what it is they're trying to do, makes very few mistakes. He's a great field general, has good weapons around him. Like I said, I have a lot of respect for them because the system that they run; it's the spread offense, I don't know what that means exactly, because everybody runs it differently. But what they do, they do very well."

On Colorado QB Tyler Hansen

"I think he's a smart kid and he's been in the trenches since we started, so it's not like he's coming from ground zero. He knows football, he's a smart guy, so it's not like it's Eugene [Goree] going from defensive line to offensive line.

On the Difficulty of Going from the Scout Team to the First Team

"It's not easy. I mean to his credit, again, he's smart and he's very athletic. He's been paying attention in meetings, and it's always a challenge when you are a scout team guy or a backup guy as you're not as engaged as you ought to be mentally; and he's been very good about that. So I think that made it easier on him, but that's not an easy chore by any means."

On Giving More Plays to Freshmen

"I think, again, it's a question of saying, whether it's Speedy (Rodney Stewart) or Darrell [Scott], or any of our freshmen linemen, you just have to have that balance between ‘what can they do, what can they do well, and where is that overload point?'"

On How He Will Split-up Reps in Practice between Quarterbacks

"Again, there was no magic formula last week and there won't be one this week either."

On the Play of Newly Designated OG, Eugene Goree

"He did okay; again, it's just so hard because you have to be in concert with the four other guys. But there were certain times he looked very, very good; but a six-inch step, versus a 12-inch step for an offensive lineman is a big thing."

On the Play of OT Nate Solder

"He's really starting to get a feel in there for what's going on and how to do it. It's just being assertive. He's got all the physical tools and he's a smart guy; but again, it's being able to do it without having to really think and over-think, or question yourself, and just play fast and be assertive with it."

On the Play of Colorado's Defense against Kansas State

"We played really good in a lot of those other games and then we'd have either a stretch of gashers, or a big play; or in Kansas' situation, we had them stopped and then they came back and made a couple of drives and I think this game [our defense] really took that next step and said, ‘Hey, we're going to be dominant throughout the whole game,' and I thought that was a huge switch to get to. To have a group go from, ‘Hey, we're playing pretty good,' to, ‘We're going to win this game on defense,' I think that's an awesome credit to our coaches and our guys over there. Because, like I said, they have been playing pretty good, but it's hard when you're not getting production on the other side and you just have to flip that switch and say, ‘I'm good. I'm good winning the game 14-13 or 10-7, or whatever that ends up being. 7-3, or whatever that score ends up being.'"

On Colorado's Defensive Schemes

"I think they're making some nice adjustments. Again, K-State got after us a little bit early on and I think they just kind of settled down, and got to their keys and got lined up, and got into the flow of the game. I think Ron [Collins] and [Greg] Brown have done a nice job just kind of keeping them off-balance a little bit, throwing enough change-ups in there, but playing our base stuff."

On the Play of Placekicker Aric Goodman

"We don't have a free-agent wire, but again, it's not like he's shanking them all over the place. The guy is just off a little bit, so we've just got to hang in there and stay with him; he's money in practice, he's just off a little bit in the game. Everybody goes through ups and downs, but I mean in general he's handled it pretty good and we've handled it good with him. Like I said, there's no free-agent wire and he'll be alright, he'll kick his way out of it."

On the Durability and Play of TB Rodney Stewart

"He's a very strong kid and he's really tough. He's shorter in size, but he's not a slight kid, so I think that helps him; he plays fast."

On if the Players Remember Last Year's Game Against Missouri

"You always want to start fast and you certainly remember certain things that happen in games, whatever it may be, and you want to eliminate that from the year before. It's not like that's the rallying cry, by any means."

On Missouri Losing Their Last Two Games

"That's the thing again, you hate going back to it, but you have to look at who they're playing. They gave up some yards to two of the better offensive teams in the country; and they did a nice job in the other games, particularly against Illinois. They're not a bad unit by any means. Unfortunately in this conference you're going to go against the best quarterbacks and the best running backs, the best offenses, the best defenses; that's just the way it's stacking up. So at the end of the day, when you look at stats that doesn't always bare out."

On What Record Would Be Considered a Success This Season

"Well, again, you guys always look at the records and the bowls, and all of that. For me, I think being able to keep these guys headed on the path that their headed, keep them together, stay together, be positive, keep going; they battled through a lot of adversity to this point and managed to keep their heads above water. All of those things are positive things to me. Unfortunately we're in a society where that stuff doesn't count for much anymore; but when you're the father of a household, you're the coach of a young team of a bunch of young kids, that counts for a lot. That to me is the most important thing."

On if it is a Priority to Get WR Josh Smith More Touches

"Yeah, but again, you reach a point where a guy is your punt returner and your kick returner, your deep threat; at some point you have to be judicious about allowing him to be fresh and know what he's doing, to keep him going as well."

On Josh Smith's Condition After Taking a Personal Foul During a Punt Return Against Kansas State

"He's an amazingly resilient young man, he really is, and he's really tough. I was obviously more than concerned, but he was great, he was smiling on the sidelines. That was a vicious hit."

On Missouri TE Chase Coffman

"They've had a lot of great tight ends there and he's another one of them. The guy is very amazing, his highlight reel is very impressive and then when he gets the ball he can run too; so he's not afraid to run over you or jump over you, or run around you. He's got great hands, big guy; he's a talent, he really is. We just pretty much point out to try and get the guy on the ground, try to get him tackled. It's easier said than done."

On Where He Ranks the Big 12 Conference in College Football

"We'll see when it gets down to the end and see what happens in the bowl games, and how people stack up there; it's awfully good, it really is. Sometimes people want you to choose between one conference and another, and I just know the Big 12 is very, very good. Like I said, I think you'll probably be able to see a better barometer when you get into bowl games and see how people match up. But I don't think the Big 12 has to take a backseat to anybody."

On Conference Championship Games

"You have at least a couple of things going on. One is the amount of revenue that's generated by that Big 12 Conference game; it pays for a lot of other people to play sports in this league. That's just the facts. So to some degree it doesn't really matter what you like. I think from a coach's standpoint, and Missouri might be a great example of that, they lose a chance to play in the national championship game because of it. So it can go both ways; I think it's beneficial for the conference revenue-wise and to spread out to all of the other sports, and all of the other institutions. For that red-hot football team that loses one game, and that's the game, it costs you a chance at the national championship. So..."

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